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Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food
By Randall Putala © 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha
Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 .
The salesman looks stunned. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . he replies. I won't accept them. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. I'm buying from you". whether it is competitive or not.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. of course you're correct. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. Without blinking an eyelash now. No freebies or add-ons. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. He says to the salesman. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. All this. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. And based on the way most people view food shopping.
like clockwork. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. enjoy. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. it's pretty much a one-time investment. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. and happy savings! 5 . and you’ll get the answer immediately.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. I'm being facetious. week in and week out. Read.000 or $50. you probably don't need to clip coupons. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. "I'm not poor!" they insist. and I really can show you how to do it. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. perhaps. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. Sure. If so. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". And at the end of the day.receipts. that you’re NOT that guy.000 or more per year. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. You see. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101.
just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.Randall Putala Author P. 6 . refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits.S.
Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. Time is not as important to me as saving money. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. I'M LOST. LET ME COMPARE. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. 5. or position on the shelf ). I'M IN A HURRY.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. AND I'M FRUGAL. 3. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I'd like to save money. 2. OUT OF MY WAY. and pick the cheapest one. I'll be out of here in no time. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. AND I'M CHOOSY. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. highest price. I'm too busy. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I'M CHOOSY. 4. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. I'M IN A HURRY. advertising campaign. I've got a family to feed. I'M IN A HURRY. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . but it's just not possible with my schedule.
Here. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. 8 . Change your mindset. It's that simple. Now. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. It's that simple. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. So do it. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". and you will lower your food costs. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. please read it again. and you'll lower your food costs. Change your mindset.eating better and healthier food than theirs. It’s very important. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting.
Everyone is different. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. Conversely. Unhappy campers. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. Uneaten goods. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. d. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. "there's nothing to eat". 4. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . 3. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. you may not be making smart choices for your family. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. and everyone likes different things from time to time. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. b. You have items that you never seem to run out of. Insufficient food supply.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. If this is the case. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. c. or pantry months after the fact. High grocery expenses. freezer. Keep your receipts for one month.
"how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Binge snacking. You're cooking the wrong stuff. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. but few people notice it. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. item by item. It just looked good at the time. But something made you want to take that action. so you did. Excessive leftovers. and your budget will 10 . keep reading. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. b. Sticker shock. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. 7. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. (More on this subject later in the book. so you put it in your cart. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. Steer yourself back to the basics. Your cooking proportions are too large. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. 5. You're cooking too much food. 6.
Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. you'll all be happier and healthier. expensive meals. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed.thank you for it. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. 11 . pre-cooked. and even the signs in the grocery store. the print ads in your magazines. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. or find a way to buy more for less. prebagged. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch.
Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!
3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan
"5 breakfast items". Next. As you master each new step. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. change it to 7 minutes. Wet the potato with running water iii. Rest assured. Take really. though. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. START SMALL. all is not lost. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. 4. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. I'M LOST. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. and write down notes for this. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. Cook for 5 minutes on high. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. For example. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. If you need more time. that will turn out perfectly.these side dishes carefully. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. Make a simple list by category. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. etc. you may a problem. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. until you get it absolutely right. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. b. If this works. 8 minutes. great. etc. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. Containment is the key word here. Keep it simple. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. write down the steps: i. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. clip them out and put them in an envelope. really. If you are this type of shopper. and stop there. small steps to organize your shopping trips. REALLY. like "3 meat items".
$70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. Get cheap. book.500 or more per year on groceries. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . AND I'M CHEAP. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. the more you'll save. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. you're ready for the master class. chock full of the finest foods in the store. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. 5. The guy in line behind you. I'M IN A HURRY. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. and stay cheap. down. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. It just takes practice to know what works. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level.500 – $3. down. Some items will be necessities. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. $60.000 – $3. down.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you.000 raise at work. you CAN do better if you just review your options. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. and then doing those same things next time you cook.
the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. To save money. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. If you plan these side dishes carefully. and stay cheap. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. but you can rely on your own notes. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. Some items will be necessities. is because cooking is really very simple. 18 . Learn what works for you. and you won't always have a coupon for it. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. The reason it looks so effortless to them. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. you CAN do better if you just review your options.with better recipes. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items.
visualize yourself paying $100. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. Seriously. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. Make yourself accept it. If you do what you've always done. It can be a big help. Stand by this realization. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. Step 3 – Be Flexible. and your weight. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . Step 2 – Believe. you've got to be prepared to try new things.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". and what they are doing to your health. If you still don’t understand the connection.. Step 5 – Affirm. your mental attitude. Write down how they make you feel. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. seek professional counseling..) Step 1 – Acknowledge. you tend to get what you've always gotten. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. Step 6 – Reconsider. If you're currently paying $200 per week. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. Once you can visualize the change you want. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. Step 4 – Reflect.
“I’ve always eaten this. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. Take it slow. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Step 8 – Record. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. I’ve always been able to afford it. buy it. you must mentally shout out. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. You may be thinking.” Find a substitute. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. “STOP!” Reset your mind. turn around. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. There's a lot for you to learn about food. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. Now comes the fun part. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. Step 10 – Reject. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. Humilty is the stepstone of success. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. your refrigerator and your freezer. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. for the NEW me. Step 7 – Be Humble. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. your mind may think of it as a reward. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. and if you like it – keep buying it. items that cost too much. and 'do the aisle again.regarding your shopping habits. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. and enter a new instruction. put the guilty items back on the shelf. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. 20 . tofu instead of cheese.
You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. and put it in a bank savings account immediately. If you're very diligent. get 'cash back' equal to that amount.Step 12 – Rejoice. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. 21 .
People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. it doesn't matter. save. When I go shopping. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. Love them or hate them. In fact. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. I feel disappointed. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. She's not exactly poor… Smart. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. 23 . and it's your lucky day. yes – but not poor. They are always looking for ways to save. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. Would you turn it down. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. and more will be given to you over time.
you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping.000 or $3. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. let alone using coupons.. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time.. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got.000 per year. let alone shopping for yourself. When you arrive at this conclusion.! 24 . remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. you're very lucky. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. Benjamin Franklin said it. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. not me. and you really do work every moment of every day. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. so take one. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. a new hot tub. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion.. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. You probably deserve a break. using coupons is a waste of time.. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. "A penny saved is a penny earned". and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE. money to blow on a super vacation.
one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. you write a check for $75. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. View it however you like.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. along with the other techniques described in this book. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. no” you might say. It's not rocket science. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. “Oh. If you use coupons effectively. Instead. great. even if you use coupons. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. Trust me. Yes.” Okay. and it really does stay in your bank account. That's real money. That is a fact. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. Some are also for 25 . you're written in that creditor's shylock book.
don't need it. Then.. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. Smart money management never goes out of style. However. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. But guess what? If you don't want it. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . you probably don't need to use coupons. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. or don't like it. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want.products that are overpriced. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget... need and use every day.. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. and don't use coupons. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year.
not theirs. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. etc. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details).compound into larger debt over time. regardless of who redeems them. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. In fact. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. an affluent shopper. and that can be very hard to overcome. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. and become repeat customers. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . Coupons help spur the economy. higher-priced items. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. They must replenish the sold product. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. super-premium items. using their coupon to buy their product. they wouldn't issue the coupons. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. enjoy the products. They want people to try their products. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. the more products they sell. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. the higher the coupon redemption rate.
COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. So guess what: once you try the product. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. packaging. REALITY: Again. new flavors. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. This is the manufacturer's goal. the next time. They develop new lines of products. etc. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . because they believe that consumers will like them. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. they're actually very smart. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. new combinations. And when you go to buy the product again. and on and on for years. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid.. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy.
Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. it can be fun. Save your pennies. give some to charity.? If not. or simply don't care about money.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . 3. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. electronics. Examples: 1. and a real waste of time.000. Do you have the very latest clothing. 2. REALITY: If you do it right. $2. etc. At least not the same tomorrow as today. couponing is not for you. home furnishings. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. if you have some other method to earn $1. you need to save more money. You’ll feel better about it. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. Case closed. cars.MYTH 9: I make a good living. If you are independently wealthy. and couponing is a step in the right direction. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5.000 per year. you're right: you don't need to save money. 4. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). you've just lost your vote. and save some for your own use. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. nickels. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money.000 per year. Or. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do.
And for you. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 .. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. you're very lucky. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. Conversely. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. But the ends justify the means. couponing takes a little effort. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. Yes. You've been buying your favorites your whole life.you enjoy . it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. because that is what made them rich. you should pursue it.. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. Yes. Save money on groceries.
and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. They don’t worry about overcharging you. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. in fact. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. If you really don't need to save money. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. they're actually very. 31 . you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. and that can be very hard to overcome. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. you'll feel better. give it to a real charity.. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. very smart. They want you in their store.. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. and so will they.larger debt over time. And for you. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. with the best items in their store. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable.
Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. up to 60¢. 3. 33 . etc. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. you WILL save money. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. 2. TACTICS.g. leave immediately and find a store that does. (e. then WORK YOUR PLAN. i. This is the actual implementation of the plan.e. Learn them. 1. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. 20 coupon maximum per visit).Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. up to 99¢. If not. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. b. Live them. STRATEGY. This is the creation of a PLAN. up to 50¢. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. and the many rules. there are two parts to any battle plan: a.
or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. the scanner will catch it instantly. Most coupons are brand specific. (can you buy only 1. even low-value coupons. especially to the grocer who accepts them. If your coupon is expired. e. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. Coupons are negotiable documents.4. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. 7. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. CLIP EVERYTHING. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. HYPER VALUES. BRAND REQUIREMENTS.) 6. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . flavors and variations of the product. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials.g. Plus. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. or must you buy 2?) 5. They have real value.
the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. From that point on. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. they have no chance of getting credit for it. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. they start to appear in stores. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.. Over the next few weeks. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. 35 . At some point near the middle of the promotion.) As I stated above.. Do it once too often. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. If they accept a coupon that is expired.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager.
you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. In areas with high competition. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. especially senior citizens and families with children. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. In areas with only marginal competition. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. 36 . VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. If you were a product manager at the food company. This is when many products are put on special. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. or offered as a 'BOGO'. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business.
IF the store has the item on sale. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢.2. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. If you don't. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. But combined with the sale price. More about this later. b.19 As you can see. the net savings effect is multiplied. BEFORE you shop there. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. but it will pay off big 37 .00 $. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. When you view the face value of your store coupons. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill.59 $2. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. The most common level you will find is 50¢.29 on sale $1. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. Doubling value of the coupon. Again. which could net out a greater discount for you. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. It’s true. This will take a little practice.55 $1. Store sale.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference.
Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. EXPIRATION DATE.time in terms of savings. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. 38 . Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. the lower the coupon value. the greater the net discount. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. 2.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. Alternatively. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. OVERSTOCK. Sometimes.
or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. If you were going to buy the item anyway. they can buy just one and pay half the price. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. This is not always the case. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. 4. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. Many times they are store-specific. However. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. someone can use the second item. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. If you honestly don't need two of an item. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. LOSS LEADER. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. It is your right to know. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. do not pass up the BOGO deal. and they'll be glad to get it.3.
Box.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. get one free. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. Buy one at $3. 50¢ off on one box purchase.50. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids. 50¢ off on one box purchase. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. regular price $3.00. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal.50 for two boxes of cereal. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. 21 oz.25 per box of cereal. You have now saved $2. regular price $3.50.75 for one box of cereal. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. To keep senior customers happy.00. $1. Box. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. $2. You have now saved $2. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal.25 each. for a grand total savings of $4. 21 oz. And 40 .50. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.75.
not Brand B or Brand C. a feeling of euphoria and power. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. it's the thrill of the hunt.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. For example. You might like the brands you haven't tried.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. If you follow my techniques for regular. But as you can see in our example. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . OR. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. Plus.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. which will typically show each brand they manufacture.69 $1. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. After all. and not clip it. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. and they deserve the sale it generates. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'.29 50¢ $1. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. over and over again. systematic couponing. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE.
but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. The industry calls these "line extensions". All four are frozen dinners. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. For example. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. SIGNS LIE.00 extra for the same amount of meat.99 for two (net cost $2. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon.50 per package). only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. 42 . If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons.99 per individual package. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. because they often won't scan properly. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. you'd pay about $7. and sign wording. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. sign placement. "Singles". If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. They're great for finicky eaters. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for.
00 on 2". So don't believe what you see. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. "that item was on sale last week. SALES CLERKS LIE. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. All of a sudden. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. i. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. so you will have technically purchased two. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. Check the dates first. because you must buy two of them. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. they're not so certain. and the coupon will be authorized. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. But you will only be charged for one item. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. 43 . The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. When an item rings up wrong. there is nothing you can do about it. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. "Save $1.e. but it's not on sale now. especially when you know you're right. FLYERS LIE. believe what you verify before you check out. Do I need two of this item. And once you've left the store.
package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. the store's 44 . For example. that is the rule.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. You have to understand that there are over 10.35). box of our cereal. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. be sure to read the fine print. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz.000 items in the typical grocery store. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. If in doubt. It may require a matching purchase. In most cases.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal.00). The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. So you must spend $7. The same rule applies to flavors. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. bottle. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. bottle. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. in the example above. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. bottle. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. and paying the regular price for your milk. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. bottle only. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. In other words. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies.
computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. You never know until you try.50 for the milk. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. or approximately $1. use it. Instead of 99¢. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz. you could get $1. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line.00. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. they offer them at 50% off. you are now getting the peaches for FREE.70 in doubled value for these coupons. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'.33 per box. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. It just doesn't get any better than this. plus the cashier will take off the $1. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. IT MUST BE ON SALE. BONUS BUYS. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. In most cases. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. they're marked down to 50¢. typically on a 45 . You'll now be paying $4. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time.
Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)
Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats
You should simply spend the extra $30. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off.e. $40.e.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons. $5. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. Yes. i. I'm 50 . the system won't work. reading a magazine or talking on the phone.
Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. I find that it helps to set a specific time. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. obviously don't clip that coupon. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). When it's time to do my sorting. Then. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon.being sarcastic. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. Dairy. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . Canned Goods. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. and. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. it can actually be illegal. if you do it knowingly. I use a small wicker basket. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. It's like anything else – a diet. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. it can be embarrassing. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. It's bad form. a hobby. When you have the time. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using.
Of course. and easier to stick to. Remember. baked goods. so I tend to focus on those most of all. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. Then. even 90 minutes. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. Do it the same way each week. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. it’s just mentally easier. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. If you do this. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. For example. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. this doesn't 52 .. If you follow the expert's advice. 60. when I'm done. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. etc. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. Add in your drive time home. you can develop your own routine. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. i. Of course. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. bread & cereal is always top right. etc. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. It's a good thought.e. and do it all at once. meats.& Store Discount categories.
With your dollar off. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. dairy products. i. because Brand B is on sale for $2.49. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. you will find that 53 . REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. Plus. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. your net cost of buying it will be $1. POCKET. MATCH. As an even better value proposition. It takes a little discipline. Save the bread.e. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. 4. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. you'll pay $2. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. meat and frozen foods for last. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings.00 off. SCAN. And chances are. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off.00 off coupon.apply to produce.49. 2. $1. When you have an appealing coupon.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. and that's the place to start shopping first. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. right? WRONG! In this case.99. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. 3.99.
they typically won't know the difference. they have a great food products section. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. Most people are reactive shoppers. Buy two cans of an identical item. Cook both items. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. REVIEW. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. At my local dollar store. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. Yes. Yes. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. They carry lots of 54 . But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). which go for about three times the cost of generic. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. I can assure you. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. And frankly. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. You'll find that in most stores. But when they're cooked and on your table. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. and used the generic-brand labels. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. they don't shut down the production line. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. I prefer the 'baby' peas. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. They change the labels! If you doubt this. and serve them up in identical dishes. I know. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster.
This may seem like a really dumb step. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item.condiments and sauces. By this. One top brand sells regular soup. home-style soup. MATCH. When you taste the sauce. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. But if you try them. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . but in some cases it is. In fact. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. it tastes just like the leading brand. size. some of them will be downright awful. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. chunky soup. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories.. but it's actually very important. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. POCKET. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. Take soup. Check the brand name. POCKET the coupon. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. kitchen select soup. Last but not the least. etc. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. for example. flavor. as well as the expiration date. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. Most of the biggest. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand.
Again. Again. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. Just make sure you have a true system. if I find that I have an expired coupon. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . you can't REDEEM them. I use my left pocket. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. If you do things the same way each week. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. on every shopping trip. they won't be redeemed. and putting them all in one safe secure place. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption.when you are buying your groceries. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. you will systematically save money. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. but that's just a personal preference. And it WILL add up over time. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. During the course of my shopping trip. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. Create your own system or use mine. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. but now it's gone. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. and follow it like clockwork. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in.
most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. In other words. similarly.. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. Do things the same way every time.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. and you'll get better at them day after day. Remember. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match.. once you leave the store.
S. Step 5. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. Step 4. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse.Chapter 8: The Currency vs. Wake up and smell the mocha java. I don’t waste REAL money.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. You may think you're not a candidate to save money.!) Step 3. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. and one by a food manufacturer. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores.* (Hey wait. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Do not actually implement this test. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. Now. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. try taking the 'Currency vs. Turn the shredder on.. Step 2. Step 1. Coupon Litmus Test'. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. Mint. and for shock value. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U.. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. (Feels good. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. chances are there is one somewhere in your office.S. Locate a paper shredder. people! 59 . and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. *NOTE: Destruction of U. currency is illegal. too. Okay.
The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. When you think you're getting a $3. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. you're throwing away cash.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. and to be perfectly honest with you. It's all just part of the process. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. Then. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. store sells single item for half the price. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks.59 for it. I sometimes get in a hurry. Some people say. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. 60 . coupon in hand. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. If this is your situation. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks.
the club member's price. 2. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. Often. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . SCAN. When you go to check out. with a price. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. JOIN. In most stores. They will typically show two prices: A. As any astute shopper knows. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. 4. Here's how these clubs work: 1. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. and B. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club.Chapter 9: Clubs. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. the regular price. You join the club. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. All of these items feature a barcode. You must join every club. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. 3. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. GET ANALYZED. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. SHOP.
Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. let's say that your household income is between $75. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them.19. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for.e. "Big Brother" is alive and well. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . so they make the most money off of you. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level.000.information is not extremely valuable by itself. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. But as a member of a specific demographic group. '2 for $3. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry.99'. For example. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. i. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. You are a powerhouse consumer. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share.000 and $80. Of course. when the normal price of a single item is $2. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves.
REGISTRATION. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. You need to join them. too. street address. in infinite detail. they are in essence telling the store manager. etc. although they will. children's age. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. etc. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. You tell them your name. you have to fill out a registration form. Every item in the store carries a product code. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. 2. Welcome to the Maze. PRODUCT CODE. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). CLUB MEMBER CODE. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. marital status. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. The computer knows what every item is. let's look at how this happens: 1. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. slightly more sinister. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. you're not too far off the mark. Now. Guess what product that code 63 . As a club member. you can see it below the barcode on the package. 3.will pay any cost for a particular item.
surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. in a word. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. The computer knows who you are. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data.represents? It's YOU.1 bottles per month. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again.4 bottle level dropped to 0. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. SHARED DATA. the top 1/10th of that 64 . packaged it. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. does it? No. and what you buy. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. The information saves them time. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. shipped it. 4. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. but prefer the name brand variety. They've picked it. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. Why would they do this to you. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. Scary stuff. The ultimate solution being. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. no. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. where you live.6 that month. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. NO. In fact. and sold it for years.
not just the wealthiest households. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. because she's buying 4. if only she would try them. Betty doesn't make a huge income. You're part of a larger consumer group. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to….7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. 5. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. To see how this works. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. but she's doing alright. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. ZERO 65 . but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. Based on sheer numbers. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash.pyramid is the affluent markets. So the kids are happy. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. After all. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. but the big family-size boxes.
BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and
diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons
of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.
and they will continue to do it in the future. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. they are in essence telling the store manager. the bargains are well worth it. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. you "don't have time" to save money. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. But in my book. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. thank you. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. for every item in the store. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. every day. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. 69 .The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time.
even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. you'll get the card immediately. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. Box. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. not just the wealthiest households. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. You'll get more offers and better values over time. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. If you learn how to play their game. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. or a P. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. The sooner you start the process. But coupons are coming your way. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. 70 .O. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. get a card at the grocery store in that area. HDTV sets. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. Of course. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. cell phones and other high-ticket items. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today.
When it comes to pharmacies. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. What is a rebate club? Simply put. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. even if you don't normally shop there. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. My record on free items is $62 in one month. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. people are definitely creatures of habit. If you visit 3 stores a month. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. this one technique alone could save you over $1. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. hard-working youth of America. when they're 71 . because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. hair coloring. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. etc. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can.800 a year. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. It's not always true. toupee wax. it's the seniors.
99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. Apparently. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month.99 item. In other words. $2. Be sure to process your . 2. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. i. 72 4. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. but they only tell you this in the fine print. it's really free.00 rebate on a $2.e. because some manufacturers will offer a $3.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors.00 or $3.00. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else.) 3. Others will be $1. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. You have to check these carefully. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. In most drug stores. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. REVIEW THE OFFERS. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. CHECK THE OFFER DATES.00 off the purchase price of the item. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. a $7.99 rebate for buying it. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month.
READ THE REQUIREMENTS. For most clubs. Read the fine print. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. exactly the way they say it.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. if you haven't gotten your rebate. which is the next critical point. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. After a few months. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. What you DON'T want to do is say. 6. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. The retailers call this "breakage". you'll have proof of mailing it in. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. 5. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. or they will refuse it. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. 7. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. KEEP A PHOTO COPY.
so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. It may seem trivial. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. it's good money management. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. use it first when making purchases at the store. This may seem like a lot of work. then pay any remaining balance with cash. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. Plus. So always use the credit before using real cash. 9. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. 8. and you can't turn it in for cash. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. rather than have them issue you a check. Plus. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card.within the proper timeframe. Proving this would be difficult. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. CASH SECOND. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . Using my photocopies. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card.
If you are really cash-strapped. that may be a little bit exaggerated. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. The Most Amazing. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo." In checking the other coupons. however: • No Doubling. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. Sorry – there is no way around this one. then. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3.00 off coupons on several others. You only have to do this once.00 off. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. So I could easily get a total of $8. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. Alarms will go off. Then. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. The headline read.) 75 . You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. In most grocery stores. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. if you do it right. when the rebate check arrives. Why is it.days while your rebate form is being processed.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. and $1. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. Well. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. I found a $2. (No big deal here.
Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. If you visit 3 stores a month. All that said.800 a year.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2.• No Price Reductions. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. this one technique alone could save you over $1. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. Saving $8. When the drug store puts out savings like this. however. even if you don't normally shop there. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . at the same time. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible.
) There may be a date limit to your purchase. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. so this one is obvious. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. 1.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. read it. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. In this case.50 per item purchased. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. Okay. Also. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. 2. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. circling each of the ten on the receipt. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product. assume that their 77 . cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. READ THE FINE PRINT.
00 per can. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.99 $1.50 $0.01) $0. they're also on sale quite frequently.39 $0. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed. but they're not shown in the photo. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. 2) $0.59 $0.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.50 $0.50 - $2.39 $11. Here's why: a. b.29 ($0.49 $2.00 (50¢ coupon) $0.50 $0.50 $0.00 ($13. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.50 $0.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo.99 $1.50 $1.78 Quantity 2 ($0. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate. 3.08 $3.49 $19.10 (55¢ coupon) $0.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.50 $0. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.39 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.30) $0. In one example.59 Baking Mix $3. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.30) $0.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.09 $2. c.09 $3.78 $0.39 $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.30 ($5. To get the maximum value for your effort.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. kids' fruit snacks.89 $3.99 FINAL COST $24. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time. The soup line is already heavily couponed. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands. yogurt drinks.00 (qty.09 $1. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.59 Croissants in a Tube $1. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.89 Can Green Beans $1. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.89 $2.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.00) .
the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year.As you can see. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. It doesn't sound like much. you can save an extra $10. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. But if you DO make the effort. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. 79 .
for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. dairy products. they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). For an example. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day.43 per day on meals.500 per year after taxes. spices. let's look at a fictitious family. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. or a total of $21. if they are to remain viable and profitable. etc. – items they use each and every day. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. 81 . Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. and 'brown bags' their lunches. We're talking about flour. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin.
the owner doesn't get a paycheck. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. reduce or eliminate their savings. or reduce in one of the other areas. month after month. the family must do without new clothing. cancel their insurance. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. the business will fail. month after month. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. 82 . Often. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill.43 per day. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. At a restaurant. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. At the Jones household. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin.
This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. while paying less for them. and/or kids in school. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. some eggs. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. household supplies and personal care items. 83 . You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. Get larger sizes of items. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. I'm not a doctor. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. a social life. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. The big jar typically contains twice as much. Mom needs a break too. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. let's leave it at that. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. That's all. go see your doctor. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. They are: • BUY BIG. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. get some professional advice. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. Many writers have covered that territory. and put a plan in place. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. If you want to change your diet. that's fine. you know.
even if you won't need them for six months or a year. Sweet Potatoes. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. Currently. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb.00 to $6. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat.00. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. pork. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. 84 . etc. • BUY BASIC. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. beef. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. plus chopped broccoli. Bulgar Wheat. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. Stock up when items are on sale.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. Grits. As long as you will eventually consume the item. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. Again. if it's available now at half the cost or below. stock up & save. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. rice and sauce. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule.
85 . The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality.Two or three cups of cooked rice . In some cases. So overall. cooked broccoli .One or two cooked carrots. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. it's an okay meal. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. And. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. because it was chopped. .One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. either. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. chopped .One or two garlic cloves. cook on low for about 10 minutes. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like.1/4 cup of soy sauce .The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan.Various spices in minute amounts .Two or three cups of chopped. savoring the taste. It's sustenance. sliced . isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food. and that's what dinnertime is all about. and it's ready to serve. and they're not idiots. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. but nothing to rave about. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. cooked and frozen a long time ago. the garlic isn't really zingy.
Stock up on them when the pricing is right. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. it's made of bread and spices. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. so they'll be on hand when you need them. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. IF you were starting from scratch. If you are cooking for one. And in many cases. you can reduce your total cost of food. 86 . Is it bad stuff? Well. many. the more you will lower your cost of food. the lower the cost per serving. or you eat like a church mouse. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. Just remember this: in most cases. or the items you buy are very perishable. WHICH you wouldn't ever do.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. and you have a coupon for them. buying small makes sense. resulting in better quality for less money. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. For example. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. the bigger the package. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. But for everyone / everything else. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. and they can save you a lot of time.
BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. If it's a non-perishable item. grab it. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. 87 . the more you will lower your cost of food. You'll be investing a little cash now. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain.
Yes. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. Don't get me started. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. Cook them. Example: a tomato. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. Cook it until tender. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. of course. It's hard to top perfection. With the majority of foods. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. they're tremendous in a million different ways. simple. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. very simple. and it's wonderful on the palate. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta.001 things with a potato. Of course. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. It rarely needs any improvement. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. there are exceptions to every rule. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. Granted. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base.Chapter 14: Real Food. and delicious. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. 89 . but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. sauté them – you can do a 1. whip them. fry them. Example: a potato.
you have a valid point. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. let alone crack open the recipe book. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. Wash it off. Shake some sea salt on the outside. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. To make my point. bacon bits. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. and the end results are always perfect. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with salsa. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life.Okay. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals. (And by the way. etc. I don't have time to cook". And yes. TACOS. if you approach it correctly. sour cream or plain yogurt. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). butter or butter substitute. Take a potato. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. I want to change the way you think about cooking. Poke holes in it with a fork. I have to use premade mixes.) 2. too. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. Take a taco shell out of the package. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. In reality. BAKED POTATO. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. 90 .
seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. add a little water. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. RICE WITH VEGGIES.grocerysavings. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. You know what these are. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. put into a bowl. bowties. maybe some squash and carrots. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. add some pepper and salt. it will be good as new. toss in the noodles. (For convenience.3. 91 . So vary your enhancements. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. but you only have to stir them once in a while. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. so it's very cheap as well. and heat on low for 5 minutes. It's fast. The secret to innovative. Sure. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. RAMEN NOODLES. Toss them into the finished soup. and add that. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. chop up a tomato. 4. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. and it's very tasty. elbow. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol.us. and they're ready in 3 minutes. drain. To top it. If you're constantly stretched for time. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. When they're done. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. 5.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. Not too exciting. whatever.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. As I mentioned above.
so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. It's hard to top perfection.experiment. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. If you start building a list of quick. you'll be saving LOTS of money. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. try new things. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. and you'll eat better. too. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. healthier food every day. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. you can cut your food costs in half. Plus. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. if you approach it correctly. 92 . If it is.
this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. easy to remember. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. Stir it once in a while. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. cook 'em a few minutes more. nutritious dinner. If you're cooking-challenged. Easy. One cup of rice. 93 .) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. two cups of water.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. the rest is a cakewalk. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. Set your timer to 10 minutes. and many just about do all the work for you. Heck. This doesn't have to be expensive. • If you can learn to make rice. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes. Once you've got your own system down. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. (HINT: boil a pot of water. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes.
It’s the ideal cooking helper. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. and your meat will fall off the fork. garlic. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. Plus. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. Now. press the "chop" button. these scare the daylights out of most people. and they'll love you back all the more. kids just love rice. vegetables.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. Plus. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. Peel an onion. For some reason. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. water and salt / pepper in the pot. It's our job to keep the family happy. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. so there's not a lot of clean-up. scallions. squash – basically any hard vegetable. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. And the bowl. You don't need to watch it. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. But hey. cool for 30 minutes. and save. RICE COOKER. plug it in. stir it or tend to it in any way. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. You dump your ingredients in. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . Buy a huge bag. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. The same thing goes for carrots. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. PRESSURE COOKER.
They'll be fully-cooked. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. tender and ready-to-eat. 95 . try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. and your veggies are ready to serve. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. Mix up some tempura batter. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. Yes. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. Close the pressure cooker. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. cauliflower. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking.you've ever had. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. Add 3/4 cup water. Plus. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. it's a nutritional crime. It's really a great appliance. turn up the heat. Now. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. try this. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. I like to remove them. DEEP FRYER. top with bread crumbs. Yes. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp.) Get over the fear. But admit your vice and face your fears.
of course. The #1 use. Plus. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. and you don’t skin your knuckles. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. is to make pancakes.) Grate an onion as well. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. The result is a flavorful. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. hearty breakfast or side dish. This appliance is indispensable in my household. Oil your griddle lightly. 96 .
I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. and you 97 . – There's no time to cook. and the way you prepare your meals.I hate to cook. . you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. the recipes you use (or don't use).There's no time to cook. For everyone else. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. Then. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation.I'm too busy to shop. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. Again. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. add the glop. consider the alternative answers. heat the glop and dish it up. . .My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. Now.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. – I'm too busy to shop. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. Plus. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef.
I call this QUICK COOKING. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. because it's all that they know. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce.can save time. It will make your meals extra special. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. add a few pennies worth of spices. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. they don't expect anything better. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. To avoid cooking. Take it one step at a time. because it's what they've always eaten. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. though. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. They eat what they're given. with almost no additional 98 . and enjoy it a whole lot more. in this case). many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. – I hate to cook. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. simple meals that your family will love. and lower your food costs. You might be surprised on this one. in the interest of saving time. enjoy better meals. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta.
Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. For the sake of this discussion. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. Tomatoes .fresh potato wedges. The chef (or food manager. etc. beans. carrots. whatever you choose to cook. in the case of packaged foods). it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. and how you're doing it. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 .canned Fresh broccoli. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. rip open a bag. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. Okay. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. etc. delicious recipes. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. frozen or tube biscuit dough. turn on the stove.large drum.dry Potatoes .investment of your time. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce.uncooked Oatmeal . You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. cheese. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. With just a few minutes of planning. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . a vegan or a Venutian. pull out a pan. any fresh vegetable Boneless. dry potato flakes. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them.
The way you plan your menus. Determine what you have to work with first (i. having them accessible. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat.e. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. let's look at: a. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. what's cheapest / freshest). BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. The best way for YOU to cook.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. even if 100 . train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. b. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. store. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. The way you buy these items. (more about this later). c. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal.
you CAN learn to quick fast. with almost no additional investment of your time.e. Determine what you have to work with first (i. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. 101 . simple meals that your family will love.you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. what's cheapest / freshest).
the fresh seafood market. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. It may be the farmer's market. But that doesn't mean people will pay. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. Surely. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. How to Cook Delicious.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. tonight's special will be flounder. Think of your own dining experiences. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. If shrimp is on sale. or the wholesale meat market. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. When an item is in abundance. tonight's special will be shrimp. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. technically they can.
For fried rice. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. i. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. For egg fu yung. Microwave for about 3 minutes. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. and vegetables. 2 parts water (or milk. To reheat. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. then add your other ingredients. Let it steam for a few minutes. Worcestershire sauce.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. For families on the go. in a matter of minutes. Try it. nothing could be simpler. Recipes. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. saffron or other spices. beef. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. chicken bouillon. Sounds pretty easy. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. if you like it richer. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. 104 . You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. sashimi (imitation crab). 2 parts water. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like.e. If your meals are more infrequent. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. cover and heat. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. just add a little water. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. Add a splash of teriyaki. soy sauce.
and they learned many different recipes to add variety. sour cream. Recipes: Again. You can boil. cooked broccoli. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. chopped scallions. Again. hot sauce. Add a little cheese.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. They're fat free. bag. They'll only keep for a few days. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. etc. bacon bits. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. to make a tasty meal. mashed. These additives have 105 . Here are a few ideas. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. for variety.. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. of course…). and tasty. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. etc. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. If you're careful about what you put on them. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week.50 for a 5-lb. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. full of fiber. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes.00 or $2. bake. etc. Then. they can be a healthy choice too. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. Dinner: Serve them baked. Add cheese.. Or. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store.
Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. In the summer. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . and many ethnic foods from around the world. more food volume. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. The Irish knew this centuries ago. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. In the south. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. Yes. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. Plus. vegetarian cooking. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. You're eliminating all of the additives.almost no fat or calories. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). But for busy people they can be an excellent. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch.
Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. tastiest items you can buy in a store. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. buy them. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. potatoes. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. and enjoy meals more. strap a rubber band around the dish. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. cover with plastic wrap. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. and your family will begin to eat healthier. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. add a little water. and other serious diseases. put the dish in a microwave. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. the lighter the seasoning the better. carrots. feel better. fast cook as described above. unique taste and nutrients. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. heart disease. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. and you'll probably pay less.than the jars of sauce. the more taste it will have. beets.
. . While most of their spices are about 95% salt. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. If you're a bacon lover. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast.Wash / peel / chop the veggies.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. as appropriate.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). with some water and simple spices. you can always use regular butter or margarine. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. Of course. 108 . especially when they're 3/$1.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. the bacon bits are a bargain. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. nuke them in a small dish with a little water. If you don't like this.Put into a big pot. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. . as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. Normally. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes).Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. (Yes. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. . The recipe is extremely simple: . Okay.
Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes.. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. etc. • For a cream sauce. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. Of course. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. or freezing some for later. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. margarine. Also.) • For meat dishes. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. add some white or red wine to the dish. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. • For a little European flair.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. To reheat. To thicken.Serve and enjoy. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix.) . then add some flour and spices to form a paste. but if you have cubed beef. pork or lamb. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. add a little milk. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. sour cream. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. SLOWLY add 109 . The best time to do this is before you cook the food.
cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. just prior to serving. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. Often. You can also make a paste out of flour. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. and excite your family's taste buds. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. salt and a little baking powder. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. • To stretch your soup / stew. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. if 110 . • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. water. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1.00.
Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2.you don't have a food processor at home. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. so get the bargains whenever you can. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. all pork comes from a pig. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. using a food processor with a grater blade. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. Prices these days can change from week to week. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. Yes. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. As long as you have a method of storing these items. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. Sure. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. and you can really save. you can grate Monterrey Jack. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use.79. Cheddar or Mozzarella. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. you can buy them while they are on sale. Colby.00 each. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. Swiss. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. Then. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk.
A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. But the difference in cost can be significant. the higher the price you pay. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. enjoyable meals.into excellent. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. thigh sections. the lower down the chain you buy. it takes time. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. etc. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. It's all in the cooking process. all bonein breast sections.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . including drumsticks. all wings. the less you will pay. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. Often. The higher up this chain you buy. etc. It's messy. From lowest to highest price. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. flavorful. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. with all drumsticks. Or. but this is simply not practical for many people. Bone-in Chicken Sections.Skin on Boneless Breasts . and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. breasts with wings attached.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. 112 . Boneless Breasts . if you're willing to rebag them.
Beef There are many different cuts of beef. For example. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. onions. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. the slower it needs to be cooked. onions. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. etc. If you don't have a pressure cooker. hungry crowd. salt and shortening). Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. celery. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. I add some carrots. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. carrots.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. it comes with your pressure cooker. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. 3. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. 2. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . and bake for about 15 minutes. just buy what you prefer. which you like. With a pressure cooker. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. and look for the best value you can. potatoes that I have cooked separately. and it will please a huge. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. and surround with cleaned. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. Replace the roast.
The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. Turn the heat off. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. 8. 7. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. This way it will tenderize better. If you can't wait. let the pressure go down naturally. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. drain it well after cooking. The longer you let the pot sit. Add about 2 cups of water. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. and it will always come out great.like a red sauce. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. salt and pepper. And if you don't drain away all the fat. If you can. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. Regarding chopped or ground beef. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. If you want to serve your family hot. which will be very evident when you cook it. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. 4. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. 6. so there's no need to worry about your health. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. the more tender your beef will be. 5. but leave the cooker on the burner. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. I like to add chopped garlic. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based.
simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. the core element is one or more vegetables.the higher-priced cuts. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. If you family is bored with the food you cook. etc. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. potatoes or other vegetables. If you are typically stressed for time. Here are some very simple. MARINARA SAUCE. With a little resourcefulness. pork or lamb. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. Once you've mastered these sauces. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. For meat-eaters. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. beef. you can keep your food costs low. the core element is chicken. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it.). Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. potatoes. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. Variety is the spice of life. you can make a better sauce 115 . meats. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. You could buy pre-made sauces. the secondary element is rice or other grains. For vegetarians. Or. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. if you're serving single portions. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. healthy and flavorful meals. As mentioned earlier. rice. noodles. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. Then. the secondary element is rice.
When the butter 116 . Top with chopped chives for color. When they are transparent but not browned. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. Top with grated cheese. If your family likes mushrooms. MUSHROOM SAUCE. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. but if your goal is to impress. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. this will work every time. and you've got a great presentation. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. To make a delicious marinara sauce. stirring occasionally. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. but margarine will do). and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. if available). so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. If you like. start with a small carton of heavy cream. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. stirring constantly. but it does take extra time…). then serve over cooked pasta. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. start on your sauce. and when they're almost done. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. For example. Yes. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. I find that kids like it better without any spices). you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. CREAM SAUCE.
) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. For variety. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. YOGURT SAUCE. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. ideal for special occasions. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. stirring constantly. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. LEMON JUICE. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. Heat through. Simply add some parsley. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. PESTO. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. 1 tsp. remove the seeds.starts to burn. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. etc. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low. stir and store. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). Pecorino. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. Parmesan. and pour it over your noodles. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). stews and other recipes. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. immediately take it off the stove. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. Top with grated hard cheese. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). but do not boil.
Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. In India. and add salt & pepper to taste. Stir in a half cup white wine. stirring constantly. broiled or 118 . Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. ground fennel. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. Fry until wilted and pale brown.) Serve over barbecued. vegetables or any core item combination. minced very fine. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. 1 tsp. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. served as a dipping sauce. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. Cook for 10 min. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. This sauce is a bit exotic. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. 2 tsp. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated.that is sure to impress. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. stirring constantly. ground cardamom. they serve it over chicken and lamb. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. then reheat prior to serving. Top with grated cheese. chopped fresh ginger. from India). Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. ground red pepper. In a clutch. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. but once you get a craving for it. it will require stirring. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. 2 tsp. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. typically found in health-food stores. on medium heat. Slice 1 lb. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. 3 tsp. but it's much better in the long run. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. 1 tsp. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. stirring constantly. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. ground coriander.
Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. Start with 3 tbl. warm water. olive oil and beat 119 . Add chopped garlic. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. pepper and garlic powder to taste. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). a hlaf tsp. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. most people prefer no MSG). In a small cup. If you like things on the hot side. Soy sauce.fried chicken. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. If you are cheap like me. (optional. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. Soy sauce. mix 1 tsp. hot chili paste. sugar. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. if desired. Blend the tastes. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. HOT CHILI SAUCE. 1 tbl. then salt. sugar. ginger. Add 1 tsp. Mix until blended. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. vegetable. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. To make hot oil. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. of sugar. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. finely-chopped ginger. 1 tbl. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. salt & pepper to taste. In a small jar. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. 1 tsp. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. or more hot oil (see below). use the oil only and not the peppers. half tsp. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. a half tsp. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. 1 tbs. They work great. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. When using. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. Worcestershire sauce). 3 tbl. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. or your choice of core ingredient.
2 tsp. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. In a small saucepan. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. Add to your list of sauces. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. Add 3 tsp. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. 1 tsp. lemon juice. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. dried oregano and dried thyme. Whisk until blended. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. ketchup. 1 tblsp. salt. For sheer elegance. dry white wine.vigorously. As you can see. 1/4 tsp. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. 1/4 tsp. Blend in 2 tsp. chopped green onions. 1 tsp. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. MEUNIERE SAUCE. ideal over seafood. Bring to a simmer. Add 1 tsp. 3 tbsp. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Louisiana hot sauce. and cooks very quickly. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. These are but a few of the many. This is also a Cajun recipe. prepared horseradish. 3 tsp. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. minced parsley. Add 1 tsp. Add salt if desired. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. a dash of hot pepper sauce. Worcestershire sauce. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. beating after each ingredient. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. Simmer until thickened. each of cayenne pepper. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. 120 . In a small cup.
and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. you need to buy them while they are on sale.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. But the difference in cost can be significant. as long as you have a method of storing these items. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. so get the bargains whenever you can. and excite your family's taste buds. more food volume. The Irish knew this centuries ago. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. Often. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. Prices these days can change from week to week. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. If your family is bored with the food you cook. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. the less you will pay. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. the lower down the chain that you buy. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. The higher up this chain that you buy. the higher the price you will pay. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals.
noodles.can make meals new & exciting again. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. potatoes. 122 .). etc. you can keep your food costs low.
• Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". • Kids love slushees. and serve in a glass with ice. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. but it can also be very expensive.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. Choose the storebrand.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. some ice. We use the sugar-free varieties. And in many cases. buy the quart. You can make them at home using a blender. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. or if you just don't like them. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. $2.50. 123 . because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix.00 or more at the burger joints. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. but they cost $1. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon.
Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. they cost about half as much. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. • If you give your kids snacks for school. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. 124 . Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. by weight. Does it make a difference? Well. If you are super-diligent about this. With one of these machines. You know. if it’s an item you buy every month. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. purchase can last for a full month.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. here’s the advantage. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. but lower your total food bill. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. you cut off a section of pouch material. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. If you want to implement portion control. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. fill it with your food. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. Plus. The net result: one 5 lb. Now. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. You'll accomplish the same goal. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice.
you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is..CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. this stuff won't go bad. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. This same type of product. ammonia. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. the need to clean. can be made out of a combination of water. vinegar. etc. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. rubbing alcohol. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. oven cleaner. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of.. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. buy the big container and use a coupon. It should make you feel smarter. • Shop at the dollar stores. bathroom cleaner.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper.. dishwasher soap. baking soda. For example. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent.. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. etc. etc. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 .
And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Our furry friends need help. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. When you see bargains like this. With this program. Helping to provide a 126 . you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. The program costs you nothing extra.
When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. what's the point? Life is too short. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. Rather than sacrifice quality. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. you're not using the system correctly. Of course. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. 127 . Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of.
BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. 128 . BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. You can use plastic bags. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. or if you are especially resourceful.
This way.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO.” I discovered something surprising about this. (techie note only. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. I tend to be cynical. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. I thought it was an error. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now.the coupon: 1. Just to see what would happen. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. How do I know this? Recently. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. ignore this if you find it confusing. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. but it sure appeared to me that the food . How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. so I logged out and logged back in again. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. but you currently use a competing brand. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account.
CoolSavings. medicine. etc. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. Eversave. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort.29 minus $0.25 ($1.29 total for 2 boxes) $0. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 .80 for 2 boxes) Of course.29 per box $0. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. On a recent visit. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer.65 ($1. magazines.com. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages.com. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. Here are some coupon sites to visit.
A.. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. Thecouponclippers. etc. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. then pay an additional $8. but you do pay for each coupon.com. Times. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. But overall.com. personal and cleaning products and more. and you get to choose by specific brand names. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. it displays the specific coupons available by category. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . There is a $99. you can plan your savings over time.com. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. You can order multiples of the same coupon. the Baltimore Sun. up until the expiration date of the coupon. you can stock up on the specific coupon. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item.com. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. so you will be directed here from many other sites. Here. This site requires that you pay a $7. Coupons. This site requires you to register with minimal information. you don’t pay an annual fee.com. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. This site is well organized. Plus. Plus. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. On this site.95 annual fee however. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. plus a 50¢ administration fee. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. gourmet food items. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. CentsOff.50 fee to join.OnlineCoupons.
etc. many leading to the sites listed above. rebates and regional offers posted here.com. This site uses a double opt-in validation process." GroceryDiscounts. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. Plus.com. however. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. Thefrugalshopper. The site simply links to EverSave. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. There are no grocery coupons on this site. so I really can’t toot my own horn. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. But visit it. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. value and guidance. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. and see what you think. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching.com. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons.S. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining.000 friends to ask advice from. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values.com for grocery discounts. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. It's like having 230.Troop or church social group. As posted on their site. 133 . The food industry giants monitor this site. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. shopping. too! Fatwallet. Plus. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. This is the author’s web site. MyClipper.us. entertainment.
and make a new friend.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. Plus. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. Knowledge = cash savings for you. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. 134 . You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. Chances are.
they're 135 . is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. Shelf Surfing. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. Cart Courtesy. be aware of where you left your cart. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. When you're not moving. It was Honore De Balzac who said. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. So if you see someone lurking nearby. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. one way or another. Similarly. Okay. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". you might only be spending a little more time than you do already.
take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. So make your choice and move on. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’.. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. They’re just people. as well. you can accept your error. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. Plus. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon.probably waiting for you to move. apologize. And. as will your cashier. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. if you’re wrong. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. Cashier Courtesy. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. like you and me. So give her a break. and simply walk away from the service counter. Instead of. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). they’ll never let you live it down. If you have a discrepancy on a price. Plus. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. try. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. trying to make it through their shift.. 136 . Plus. So give them a break. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. she’s there to help you.
You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. Instead. 137 . it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier.Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register.
but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. for example. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. regular price $7. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. many 139 . at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. Let’s say. In other words. so they don't have to search for the price. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons.99. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. The bad news is. you can purchase this same item for $3.
I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. i. Speed Shopping. Most of the time.m. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop.e. when you're reading the Sunday paper.m. In time. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. 140 . You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. you will save money on food. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. And honestly. I may find only three or four coupons. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. "Acme Grocery".stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. Make Saving a Habit. when you need those three or four items. Now. All this is great. I locate the sale items. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. they don't know any other way. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store.
I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store.00 off coupons for their other products. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. Once in a blue moon. he spit it out. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. actually. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Start a Soup Night. or just not be usable. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. thyme. If you like gourmet cooking. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. taste horrible. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. So it was well worth my time to complain. cilantro. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. Try it. return it to the store for a new one. parsley. (Is that unethical. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. CRAZY??? No. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. it's nothing like that. nothing is better than fresh basil. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. Turn this to your advantage.Never Settle for Poor Quality. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. and they all spit it out. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. etc. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). If you have a patio or deck. Okay. If it's defective. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 .
It makes a terrific dinner. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. using your breadmaker. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. 142 . get your money back or get a replacement. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. If they're defective. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. you will habitually save on food. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store.for ﬁ the price or less. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food.
and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. You can shop quickly and efficiently.Closing Notes Well. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. regardless of how time-challenged you are. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. there you have it. Good shopping to you all. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . You don't have to settle for second best.
address.Cash register tape DCRT.National Brand Qualifier 144 .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .Limited.cents off coupon Codes . HBA .Free Standing inserts. usually has a red border C/O .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.Manufacturer MFR .Name. Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.Hope this helps ISO .manufacturer's coupons CRT .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .In search of LTD .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI . These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.coupon dispensed at register after purchase. usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 . zip code NB .National Brand NBQ . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .Buy one get one free Catalina .Manufacturer Money + .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .
a $1 coupon = $2.Store form SMP .proof of purchase PP .No expiration date Nfp .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .NED . any size OSI .specially marked packages SS . etc) SWEEPS .a coupon that is good on one purchase.A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .Universal Product Code WSL .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.while supplies last YMMV .sweepstakes form Tear pad .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .Try Me Free Triple coupon .) 145 .Random act of kindness SF .On a single item POP .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.purchase price PPHF .net weight OAS .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .
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this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. retailers and financial institutions. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game.40% . Discover the system that can save you 30% . Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY.000 per year. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. FKB Group PLC. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. . and Allied Graphic Arts. That’s at least $1. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives.000 to $5.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs.
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